La Puerta is the intriguing story of three Argentine compadres, who share a passion for polo as well as fine wine – not a bad combination if you can manage it. Together, these three teammates have created one of the newest and most popular wineries in Argentina. Beginning with their first plantation of noble varieties in 1994 until their third and most successful vintage in 2004, these three musketeers have not missed a step. Each successive effort has admirably eclipsed its predecessor, and that is no mean feat. Enrique Liberman is the principal partner in Valle de la Puerta S.A. (the winery’s official name) and since its inception he has spared no expense in putting La Puerta on the wine world’s proverbial radar screen. He is joined by the brother of ex- president Menem and a fellow teammate in this state of the art venture that now boasts in excess of 750 acres. Presently, approximately 250 acres of this sprawling estate are devoted to premium grape varietals, while the rest of this property turns out some of Argentina’s finest olives and most succulent stone fruits, such as peaches and plums. In Spanish, La Puerta is translated literally as the word for door, but in the case of Valle de la Puerta, this premier vineyard and winery serve both as the door and gateway to the Andes Mountains, whose towering peaks rise well over 20,000 feet in front of the domain. Situated in the Famatina Valley, in the province of the La Rioja, La Puerta is far removed from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires as well as Argentina’s more renowned wine producing region of Mendoza. Here the beautiful Sierra Famatina and Sierra Velazco Mountains branch off the Andes to form the Famatina Valley and its unique microclimate. And apart from contributing a magnificent visual backdrop to the property, the handsome snowcapped mountains that surround La Puerta contribute magnificent water from melting snows along with perfectly drained soils. The outstanding soil of La Puerta has evolved from the glacial till that over millennia has washed from these mighty mountains. This constant action has raised the valley bed to nearly 3,500 feet above sea level, creating the ideal conditions for growing grapes. Moreover, La Puerta’s terroir (soil, climate, geographic situation, etc.) provides perfect ripening conditions for both red and white grapes. In Famatina the desert like conditions supply warm days and dry cold nights: whereby, there is little concern for mildew, rot, or insect infestations that routinely plague more humid winegrowing regions. At La Puerta, Torrontes and Shiraz are the primary wines as well as the estate’s premier varietals. Torrontes, a white grape, is Argentina’s flagship white varietal and a grape that Argentina now calls its own. Like Zinfandel in California, Torrontes originated in Europe, but through time, cloning, and success unparalleled anywhere else, Argentina now rightly claims Torrontes as a specialty and its own unique wine. Shiraz, of course, is more readily associated with the south of France (as Syrah) or Australia, but in the last decade Shiraz has become one of the world’s most sought after red wines, and recent plantings in Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and elsewhere have been enormously successful. Viva Torrontes, Shiraz y La Puerta!